Digi Spain sells its FTTH network for €750m

  • The telecom infrastructure asset ownership upheaval continues in Spain
  • Digi Spain has been building a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband network in the country
  • It picked up spectrum as a result of the regulatory requirements related to the merger of MásMóvil and Orange Spain
  • Now Digi Spain is selling its FTTH network for up to €750m to investors that manage wholesale broadband network operator Onivia

Will Spain’s telecom M&A rollercoaster ever slow down? Only days after MásMóvil and Orange Spain consummated their merger by unveiling MásOrange, altnet Digi Spain has announced the €750m sale of its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband network to a consortium of investors who will combine the infrastructure assets with those of existing Spanish wholesale broadband network operator Onivia.

Digi Spain has been growing its presence in recent years by investing in its FTTH network and by becoming the beneficiary of the regulatory requirements associated with the MásMóvil/Orange Spain merger. In order to gain approval for the merger, MásMóvil was required to sell some spectrum licences and it was Digi Spain that struck a deal late last year to acquire them for €120m, while also arranging a national mobile roaming deal with Orange Spain – with MásOrange now up and running, Digi Spain gets those licences and those roaming capabilities.

Now Digi Communications, the parent company of Digi Spain, has agreed to sell its Spanish FTTH network in 12 provinces (in the regions of Madrid, Segovia, Avila, Castilla-La Mancha, Comunidad Valenciana and Murcia) to a consortium of Macquarie Capital, abrdn and Arjun Infrastructure Partners in a deal valued at up to €750m.

The network, which passes 4.25 million homes currently but which is due to ultimately pass 6 million Spanish premises within the next three years, will be operated by wholesale fibre network operator Onivia, in which Macquarie Capital is the main investor. Once the deal is completed, Onivia will pass around 10 million premises across Spain, about a third of the country’s total.

Digi Spain will continue to use the FTTH network to offer retail fibre broadband services.

“With this acquisition, Onivia confirms its position as the largest neutral and independent player, enhancing the value-added proposal for our telco customers, increasing coverage, and offering the latest XGS-PON technology,” noted Onivia’s CEO Jose Antonio Vázquez Blanco. “It is also a fantastic step towards our national end-to-end telco proposal for other market segments such as utilities and alarms,” he added.

Marius Varzaru, Digi Spain’s CEO, added: “We are delighted to develop our expansion in Spain hand in hand with the consortium formed by Macquarie Capital, abrdn and Arjun Infrastructure Partners, world leaders in infrastructure investment.”

The deal marks the latest shift in ownership of Spain’s telecom infrastructure assets. In addition to the formation of MásOrange, Zegona Communications is in the process of acquiring Vodafone Spain for €5bn and is also one of a number of companies eying up a potential bid for Spanish rural connectivity provider Avatel Telecom.

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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